How long are we wiling to wait to see results? We typically have short-term goals and long-term goals that we create and aim for, but there’s this nagging monkey on our back that’s called impatience and pressure to always meet our goals on time if not ahead of time. In business and in ministry, we’ll make annual evaluations to see what we’ll continue to do and what we’ll stop doing. This has always intrigued me because the expectation of the “speed of change” is so high.
When I consider the pressure to perform and create results in this fast-paced environment, I can’t help but think about the ramifications (good and bad) that emerge. It’s good to be highly flexible and adaptive, but I also think that we can end of short-cutting and killing some things that are good, but take time. I also think that the shorter time intervals reinforces a selfish nature. I consider philanthropy and how at times there is pressure from donors to “perform” based on their investment. They want a return on their charitable contribution because they want to know that their money is well invested (even charity). This, however, is a self-fulfilling, demand driven philanthropy that can choke the beauty and long term development of an organization/movement.
All this is to say… how long are we willing to wait? Do we believe in patience? Moses led a movement through the desert to the promised land but never made it. Are we willing to be a generation that moves without ‘seeing’ results? Are we willing to invest everything that we have and every fiber of our being for the sake of the next generation? Imagine the potential for true, sustaining change…
i was reading an book on raising infants and it raised a really interesting and insightful truth. why do we refer to babies as “good” or “bad” when it comes to their actions? if a baby cries, doesn’t sleep, and is unconsolable we refer to him/her as a “bad” baby. but if he/she eats well, sleeps well, and rarely cries, we refer to him/her as a “good” baby. interesting… how does that make them good or bad?
i’m wondering if we start redefining things in our lives when things don’t match up. and then i’m wondering if we take these new definitions and use them to evaluate everything… even God. for instance, a “good” baby is one that doesn’t disrupt our lives and makes our lives easy. so now, a “good” God is one who doesn’t disrupt our lives and makes our lives easy. hmmmm… that’s maybe why we ask ourselves the questions, “why would God do this?” “if God is good, why would he make me suffer?” “how could a good God allow pain in my life?” So, is God good? if we define good as not interrupting our lives, not transforming us, not helping us, and making our lives as easy and as comfortable as possible, then maybe not… So, maybe it’s time for us to look to Him to our definition of good and to see Him as truly God. Maybe we should approach God with humility and brokenness so that we can be formed and informed by Him.
The Truth: God is a never changing constant and He is always good.
so, my big question that i’ve been wrestling with for some time now that always gets rekindled when i come to a gathering of pastors and leaders is: “what does speed have to do with the power of the Holy Spirit?”
i ask this question because it seems that we’re mezmerized by the “fastest growing this…” and the “speed at which things get accomplished…” oddly, it creates this anxiety in me that i’m moving too slowly and that i’m always fighting failure since i’m slowing down. the affirmation of speed as it correlates to the power and presence of God also makes me feel like I don’t have that much power and presence of God in my life. i’m sure i’m writing and thinking out of insecurity, but it’s hard when it’s in your face all the time and all around you.
what does the affirmation of speed create in me? i think that i become more shallow. i move from person to person because i don’t have time. i’m very selective with my meetings in order to accomplish my agenda which needs to be accomplished quickly. i work so hard that i can never “enjoy” the moment or the blessing right before me. what’s worse is that i’m pretty sure i make others around me more anxious about moving too slowly and make them feel like lazy sluggards for not helping our community grow. sorry…:)
i always think about the high probability that Jesus would be fired from most churches today because he wouldn’t be effective enough. I think that he would be judged for only amassing 12 followers over the course of 3 years and the fact that 1 of them betrayed him only adds icing to the cake of the argument. he deeply invested in his disciples and gave himself away. he took the time to be with them and walked with them through ministry.
i fight for peace in my life all the time. when someone asks how my church is going (codespeak for how’s attendance?) i always cringe a bit. but, i believe that people in my church are growing. i believe that we’re learning through the scriptures and through our experiences in our community. i believe that strongholds are being broken and people are feeling more and more liberated. i believe that we’re seeking after Christ and valuing our “relationship” with our Savior verus just trying to “fix” our junk. so… i think we’re growing… really growing…